I woke up in the morning and wished I wanted to throw up. It sounded dramatic, and like it would make me feel clean. Instead, I felt a little groggy, but ok. I'd been fucked, but I didn't feel that different.
I felt numb, I felt scooped out and empty. And even if I didn't feel it, even if I didn't really FEEL different something had happened, something had changed. It must have, right?
I wanted to feel different. I wanted to feel dirty, or scared, or horrified, something I could change or handle or fix. Something. I didn't know how to fix empty.
I needed to tell someone.
I knew I needed to tell my Dad. That I could trust him, that he'd listen, that he'd be able to help me figure out a way forward. But also this was a Big Deal. I'd been open with this part of my life with him since I was 12, and to not tell him now, that would hurt, that would sting, that would bruise him in a very deep place when he found out. And I wasn't going to do that too, in addition to what I'd already done. I would tell him the truth.
That I got fucked in the ass by a stranger on his floor.
How the fuck would I tell him that.
I lived with the same 4ish guys all through college. They were the best friends I'd ever had, and they had no idea I was bi. I hadn't told anyone outside my family, and my ex. But one of them, Spencer, had told me about his own Greatest Sin, confessed late at night into the dark while I spent the night at his place the summer after graduation. He could get this, right? I shut down my brain and my fear, and I texted him "can I call you later?". He said of course.
I went grocery shopping. I didn't have a meltdown in the bread aisle, or in the checkout line, or on the way back.
When I was walking back the night before, from Spit-In-My-Mouth's apartment, I'd passed a couple having a furious argument as they walked down the street. They were speaking Chinese, so I didn't know what it was about, but it was a full on shouting match, and the way they were standing made me feel like he was going to hit her. I wasn't sure if I should stay or follow them and make sure everything turned out ok. I just kept walking.
That's mostly what I was thinking about.
I got back, I put my groceries away, and I tried to figured out how to fit "I got fucked and also, it was a dude because, lol, I'm Bi" into a coherent sentence you could open a conversation with. Nothing sprang to mind.
I opened my phone and hit all the right buttons anyway and the phone started ringing.
He didn't pick up.
I laughed, felt like I wanted to puke, and settled back.
I hadn't deleted the app. I'd sent him a message the night before. After trying four, five times to get it in my ass, he'd finally given up, and he'd never cum. He'd told me that he would next time, and I laughed and agreed, knowing there wouldn't be a next time, knowing there would never be another time, that I didn't want there to be another time.
He'd messaged me. To recommend taking a stool softener.
It was thoughtful, but I don't know why, it made me mad. He was trying to look out for me (maybe?), but, fuck him, he'd tried to fuck me with coconut oil, it hurt, he hurt me. And I'd let him.
I sent him a message, apologizing (fucker), there wasn't going to be a next time, I needed to take a break for a while, figure myself out, all these excuses a normal person would give. I deleted the app without waiting for a response.
I was free.
I felt it for a second, tasted it, freedom. I'd tried it, I hadn't liked it, not much, I wouldn't want it again. That had been my first thought when he'd kissed me, when he blew me, when I left.
I'd wanted it again when I woke up.
I would masturbate thinking about it that night. It would feel really good. I wasn't free at all. I was still so tangled up in it, still so fucking trapped.
My friend called me back.
We joked, briefly. I could tell he was nervous, scared. I was too. My heart was beating heavily. Not fast, but low, huge, painful beats. He asked me why I called him.
A few days earlier, a week earlier, we had been talking, me and him and one of our other old roommates, and I'd joked about being gay (I've done this for years, all through college, it was my Go To Joke, all of ours, gay jokes all around, it was Christian undergrad and honestly? It made me feel safe, and even a little more accepted, a little more acceptable. It was a good mask to tentatively, surreptitiously explore behind. And the jokes were genuinely funny, I'll do anything if it's funny). This last time, I'd come so close, so close to just saying I wasn't joking, to spilling the beans and fessing up, not a joke.
I told him, now, "you remember the other day? I wasn't joking."
He didn't remember. We stalled.
It took me almost a minute to keep going, a bunch of false starts and little hisses of breath and then:
"I'm, Bi. And I had sex last night. With a man."
Well he wasn't expecting that.
I staggered through it, I babbled, he asked questions, I warned him I would answer anything he asked, he asked anyway, I answered, I joked, I cried, I fucking sobbed (I cry so much now; I talk about crying so much so much now). And he told me he got it, he got my pain, he wasn't that surprised I was gay (I'd always joked too frequently, too sharply, too goddamn Knowingly) and he was there, asking questions and offering reassurances in the low, quavering voice that meant he was 100% there alongside me. And I told him I had to tell my Dad and I fucking broke down.
And he told me it would be ok. And that he'd be there for me, always, to text him if the temptation felt too strong, he'd do the same with me. I'd text him literally every day for the next week. I rarely managed to do it in time after that.
And I said goodbye, told him I loved him (not that way) and hung up. I felt drained, and enriched and so much fucking better.
Good people man, they mean a lot.
And now I had to call my Dad.
I waited for a while. I don't remember what I did but there was a break.
And then I shut off my brain, swallowed my fear and hit all the right buttons over again.
He was really happy to talk to me. That hurt. That felt like a punch in the stomach.
He asked what was up, and that same minute passed.
"I had sex last night"
He was so calm. I was freaking out, but he just took it in stride, like I told him I'd looked at porn or "had impure thoughts", not like I'd found a stranger and tried to find out how far I could fit his dick up my ass. There was almost a part of me that felt like he didn’t quite get it, like he'd misheard me.
It was bracing, talking to my Dad. Bracing, and humbling and... Restorative, like I was a punctured tire, being reinflated. He warned me it would be easier the second time (he was right) told me it wasn't the end of the world (he was also right) but that this involved other people too, this was more dangerous than anything else I'd done in the dark by myself (doctors agree). I needed to be careful, strong, constantly vigilant.
And he was right, and each word was stiffening, to the spine and the upper lip, but it also felt like the bars of a cage being hammered into place.
And maybe that's not only a bad thing. Cages keep terrifying things out as well as in. But I could feel the bars at my back, and they were looming ahead of me too.
I told everyone over the course of the next week. My dad told my mom for me (if I'd had a hard time telling my Dad, telling my mom, —my sweet, joyous, deeply wise, dunderheaded, True Saint of a mom— would have been almost impossible), but I called Jessica, Hannah and Aj, spilled it all.
Jessica told me I was going to be alright, that God loved me more than anything, asked if I had a plan (she's an engineer, she Fixes things) and then told me something truly mystic and powerful that made me cry and that I have since forgotten (for shame, dumbass), but doubtless lodged somewhere deep in my soul (she's also, I swear to God, going to be an actual halo and attested-miracles saint. Pope Francis will say protestants can be sainted and bam, that’s miracle #1, and only two more to go).
I told Aj, and if you'd told me when I was 12 how fucking much I would love that sweet, smart, hysterical doofus of a boy I wouldn't have been able to find the words to tell you how stupid I thought you were. He asked if I was ok, told me he'd be checking on me (he still texts me to ask if I've "gotten into mischief", I love that kid so much).
And finally I called Hannah. She was the hardest to tell. We've alternated being the black sheep since we were kids, usually see-sawing to her more than me. We're very alike. Sharp, judgemental, quick and very, very invested in things being funny and/or weird.
And I called her a whore after she had her first kiss. It was a joke, I meant it that way, I thought I did. Maybe I disapproved (I did) maybe I was embarrassed I'd been dating for four months and she'd beaten me to a first kiss (I was, and one could wonder WHY it was taking so long [there are actually lots of reasons]) and maybe I was jealous. The guy sounded cute.
She'd cried then, and I’d felt horrible. But that was nothing compared to the shame and the hypocrisy I felt looming over me now like a tidal wave.
She kissed a boy she'd only known for a week? Honey, I've got that BEAT. Let's talk about who's a whore.
She was so gentle. She listened, She laughed, we made a couple jokes. She told me I wasn't special, that my suffering and struggle weren't unique, and that meant I could do it. It meant stop wallowing. It meant I was going to be ok.
And writing all this now, I wonder how this has been so hard.
Everything they said sounded so true, everything they said WAS true, deeply true, and the love I felt, and feel from them, is so deeply potent and real.
How is this still so hard? How can I still feel so trapped, and so fulfilled, by what I used to believe?
How can I feel so keenly observed, and so completely undiscovered, by people who see so clearly and who know me so well and who love me so much?
And now there's a new burden, even with all of this support and all this strength.
How am I going to survive letting all these people down?